Secret Base Design's MIDImorphosis got a little update today that fixes a bug on iOS 5, but the real news is in how the bug was found. A guy emailed Secret Base Design asking for support, and in the email references using multiple cracked copies of the app.
To his credit Patrick fixed the apparent pirate's issue, since it would effect other iOS 5 users as well and the user claimed to be a paying customer, but then he went one step further with an open letter on app piracy. He covers some new ground not often heard in the anti-piracy debate, pointing out that not every iOS developer is making Angry Birds money and that he personally reinvests a large portion of his revenue back into the community.
"While the revenue from the app has gotten to the level where I could get breakfast and lunch covered most days, I don't spend it that way. A lot of what I make from selling the app has gone into the development expenses. I believe that creative people should be paid for their work -- and I hired a professional graphic designer to update the user interface for me. I think she did a fantastic job; she was able to do things that I absolutely can't do myself. I invested a couple of months worth of the app revenue in hiring her; it's paid for itself by now, but it was money out of my pocket to do this. I've also had to buy a variety of guitar interfaces, so that I can test them and make sure things work. And of course, I've had to buy a Mac, a developer license, and a few different iDevices, to be able to do this. I don't have the new iPad, but fortunately, I've been able to hire a beta tester that has one. I couldn't afford a new Mac, but I was able to get a good deal on a used one. I also advertise, which costs me money -- on some of the sites, I think the sales increase works out to be a net gain. There's one site, though, where I advertise simply as a way to help out a blogger because he seems like a nice person who's hit a rough patch personally. I make a little bit of money, but most of it goes back into making the app better, or supporting the iOS music community."
Patrick goes on to explore some moral theories about paying for everything, but morality is subject to relativity and thus easily dismissed. You can make arguments all day long to counter them; e.g. the evils of capitalism, the pernicious effects of false scarcity in the digital world on the third-world, etc.
Instead I'd like to present to you an amoral argument against app piracy: Greed!
I'm one of those people who gets a chunk of Secret Base Design revenue in the form of both my beta testing services, as well as Secret Base Design's long commitment to sponsoring the site. If you don't pay up for apps, developers can't advertise on my site. If developers don't advertise on this site, I can't keep justifying the time I invest into providing this service to you guys.
Obviously enough of you are paying for the apps to keep things going, but that's not enough. I want more, because I'm greedy. I want developers to have enough money to hire me to do beta testing and video tutorials. I charge a hell of a lot of money for these services, and if every single one of you isn't paying up there is no way they are going to be able to afford it. These services in turn help ensure that apps are released relatively bug free. I sincerely hope my video tutorials have helped a majority of you jump into apps that would otherwise be unattainably dense.
If greed is your motivation to steal apps, let it also be your motivation to pay. The more you pay, the more I get paid, and the more I get paid, the more you get back. I mean holy shit, I'm charging $600 for a tutorial video. That is a lot of app sales! And don't think this plea only applies to active sponsors of the site, because if you're not buying from everyone else then how are they going to afford to sponsor the site or videos later on? Piracy is rampant in computer-based music making, and almost openly discussed, but we're a small community. Let's not steal from ourselves.